On July 4th, 2019, Independence Day, I launched The James Madison Project. The James Madison Project is committed to a strong, healthy political system serving free and enlightened citizens through reclaiming the voice of the citizen within the political ecosystem. The James Madison Project is an ambitious, multiyear experiment that creates a framework and provides tools for reclaiming the citizen’s role in defining and achieving the vision of the founders of the United States.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
US Declaration of Independence 1776
The project is inspired by, and leverages the political thinking that shaped the “DNA” of our body politic, the US Constitution, and the person who played a central role in the conception and birthing of the United States, James Madison. Grounded in the farsighted vision of the founders, the project is informed by the experience of the past 231 years, by a modern understanding of human nature, and enabled by the assets of modern life including digital technology and social media. The interconnected parts of the project: The Citizenism Initiative, The Case Presentations, Our Political Ecosystem, Health of the Nation, The Citizen’s Toolbox for the 21st Century, the blog Shrink the Government and additional components are used as educational tools for understanding our democracy, as catalysts to reframe the current political conversation, and tools for meaningful participation in the political ecosystem. The platform and tools serve to “Heal” our current dysfunctional body politic.
The project has the following goals:
To provide information that enhances their ability to make informed choices as they engage in the civic life of their nation and their communities.
To build citizen’s confidence that their voices can be the primary influence shaping the outcomes of policy debates.
To maximize the faith citizens have in their government and its ability to solve important problems despite deep differences of opinion.
To effectively leverage technology and wield other tools to engage with their government in a fair and just way that reflects the purpose of the government as envisioned by the Founders.
The competence to recognize citizens and organizations that are similarly committed to the ideals of our vision.
And most importantly, to appreciate the blessings bestowed on us as individuals through the formation of the first government established by consent of the governed. This entails a responsibility to protect the constitutional concepts and democracy for future generations.
The success of the project is measured by achieving predefined goals inspired by the conviction our founders as articulated in the Preamble to the US Constitution in 1787:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The James Madison Project Initiatives and Programs
The James Madison Project contains a number of initiatives and programs that will be made public over the next few years. The initial initiatives include the following:
The Citizenism Initiative is inspired by the belief that We the People Can do better. Citizenism responds to a troubling array of problems facing our nation’s political system. By focusing on the vision that animated our founders and has energized Americans to achieve greatness. Citizenism is the recognition and the exploration of the role of the citizen within the political ecosystem. It studies the nature of the citizen rights, responsibilities and the influences that make the modern citizen. Additionally, leveraging an understanding the complexity of the body politic, citizenism provides a framework for engagement with relevant stakeholders.
The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project (Opioid Project) is an experiment in citizen engagement (Citizenism)inspired by the belief that we as citizens must engage with our fellow citizens and relevant stakeholders to achieve solutions to the challenges that face our communities and our nation.
Diseases of the US Body Politic: In addition to framing the challenges as symptoms of the disease of the body politic, this initiative utilizes the Medical Case Presentation as a framework for dialogue and action to address challenges and potential solutions for the political ecosystem. Two medical cases are introduced, The Pain Opioid Epidemic Case Presentation and The Cancer of the US Political System Case.
Shrink the Government (Blog): Reflections about the psychological / cognitive aspects of political life. We will explore the psychology of the citizen, political elites, public institutions and related organizations, and other stakeholders in our political ecosystem.
Health of the Nation: Providing data to assess the health of various aspects of our body politic. The Heath of the Nation event taken place in conjunction with the State of the Union Address by the president of the US .
My Political Ecosystem: Easy-to-use tools that provide a snapshot of the political system. The citizen can learn about their representatives, organizations and other relevant aspects of their local, state and federal (Global) systems.
My Political Tool Box: Digital tools and strategies to enhance the role of the citizen within their political ecosystem.
The 2020 election: Providing context, information and tools for citizens to actively engage with the 2020 election process. The focus will be on health care topics.
The James Madison Awards: ( 2019) Recognizing individuals and institutions that live up to the Madisonian ideal.
We invite anyone who shares our vision and mission to take part in our work, suggest topics, pose questions, write posts, and most importantly, contribute to the conversation. Stay tuned to learn how you can help.
Citizens4Health, is a (very) small group of committed citizens motivated by the belief that citizen engagement will contribute to solutions to the big problems that confront our nation. We are intent on re-framing the public debate on the healthcare and other challenges facing our nation. We have created a number of initiatives that invite citizens to imagine and engage in a process that brings about meaningful change in areas that matter to Americans. At present we are a self-funded “ labor of love”. The eventual organizational form (not-for-profit) will be defined by future needs and resources.